Water Infrastructure: new definitions amend the Planning Act 2008

We recently reported on the latest consultation on the new National Policy Statement (“NPS”) for water. This was published in November 2018 and is open for comment until 31st January 2019.

In a connected development, amendments have now been made to the definition of “nationally significant water infrastructure” in the Planning Act 2008 (“2008 Act”). The change, made through the Infrastructure Planning (Water Resources) (England) Order 2019 (SI 2019/12), is intended to support the draft water resources NPS published alongside the consultation in November 2018.

The amendments affect the types and sizes of new water supply infrastructure that are defined as “nationally significant” in the 2008 Act as follows:

  • The introduction of a threshold of "a deployable output expected to exceed 80 million litres per day" that will apply to all schemes.
  • An increase in the threshold for when the construction or alteration of a dam or reservoir will be a nationally significant infrastructure project (“NSIP”) from schemes with a hold back capacity of 10 million cubic metres to those with a capacity exceeding 30 million cubic metres; and
  • The introduction of a new type of NSIP for desalination plants.

The Government estimates that as a result of these changes, there will be a net increase in the number of water resources schemes which now qualify as NSIPs.

The Order, which is accompanied by an explanatory memorandum, came into force on 9 January 2019 and the Government is expected to designate the draft NPS later in 2019.

Posted on: 29/01/2019

This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.

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